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Killian shuts off water after tests find coliform; parish says cleaning will take at least 14 days

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KILLIAN — The Louisiana Department of Health found bacteria in the town of Killian's water supply, and Livingston Parish officials said Thursday it will be at least two weeks before the system can be declared safe.

For the time being, the town will be unable to supply any water to its residents.

"This emergency requires the well to be taken offline," Parish President Randy Delatte said.

Delatte said a water sample collected directly from the town well showed the presence of total coliform. As a result, the town's newly refilled reservoir will have to be taken offline, scrubbed, cleaned, and chlorinated twice. A number of pieces of equipment in the water system will also have to be replaced, he said.

For residents, this means using an outside source of potable water. Technically, a boil order remains in place, but the town cannot deliver water to residents anyway.

Delatte said parish funding dedicated to the so-far unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue has run out, but that officials are working to acquire other funds. 

After 24-48 hours, new samples will be taken, and if the bacteria is still present the process will need to be repeated, Delatte said. "This process will take a minimum of 14 days to complete," he said.

He said that in addition to cleaning the town reservoir, the town must replace the well discharge fittings and flow meter and install a bypass for temporary water trucks, and new pipe stands.

Coliforms are always present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are also found in soil. Health officials say not all coliforms cause disease, but some, such as E. coli, can cause serious illness.

Often, seeking coliforms is used to detect the possible existence of other pathogens. Their presence could be a sign that other, perhaps nastier, bacteria are present.

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